Assessing the Factors that Account for the Touristic Attractiveness of Kribi,
|TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT
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The purpose of this study was to assess the factors that account for the touristic attractiveness of a destination (case study, Kribi). The main objective of the study is to analyse the factors accounting for the touristic attractiveness of Kribi, being one of the main touristic destinations in Cameroon, and bring out possible measures in which Kribi can become more attractive to tourists.
This research was carried out in Kribi, the main town within the Demo Site and the capital of the Ocean Division in the South Region of Cameroon. Qualitative and quantitative data collection instruments were used.
A sample of 100 questionnaires were constituted. From the data collected, it was realised that both male and female visitors visited Kribi for several reasons and majority of them attest that Kribi can be considered a tourist destination, as the town is noted for its beautiful landscape, white sandy beaches, natural environment, pleasant weather/climate, easy accessibility of the town and the friendly attitude of the locals towards visitors.
Majority of the respondents also attest that Kribi has some natural and man-made attractions which attracted them to the town like the Lobe waterfall, Londji and Copacabana beaches, exotic bars, restaurants and hotels, the seaport, gambling facilities like the Casino Blue Sea, as well as the Campo Ma’an National Park.
The study also realised some challenges like pollution at the beaches, poor waste management, language barrier and high cost of living in Kribi as a tourist destination.
Based on the findings, the study recommends that the government should develop a code of ethics to be conducted in Kribi, to guide both the practices of service providers and visitors, trash cans should be placed along the beaches to ensure proper waste management and that penalties should be levied on defaulters who tried to pollute the beach
Tourism is a recognised activity in today’s life that brings happiness and enjoyment to hundreds of milions of people every year.
It is a progressive industry that is constantly developing. Nowadays tourism is the most demanding and world’s largest industries (World Travel and Tourism council 2016).
Tourism has grown to become one of the most popular global leisure activities, and it is now a vital and important source of income for many countries.
Its’s importance was recognized in the Manila Declaration on World Tourism of 1980 as “an activity essential to the life of nations because of its direct effect on the social, cultural, educational and economic sectors of national societies and on their international relations”.
Tourism is a global phenomenon and its importance is evident from the fact that its influence penetrates societies, politics, cultures, and above all economies (WTO,2012).
The WTO (2016), gives out the undeniable leadership position of certain regions and countries that have reached a high level of specialization, and whose specific features and elements make them the most attractive destinations for tourists.
Countries like USA, France and Spain consists of the top three tourists’ destinations in the world, and the great question to be asked here is what features do these countries have? And what makes these three countries to be more attractive than others.
Given the importance of tourism today in modern societies, there exists a scholarly debate about theoretical approaches towards tourism concepts, one of them which is tourism destination attractiveness, which is the driving force behind why people make travels today (Formica and Uysal,2006).
The quality of a tourist destination is a key factor for increasing their attractiveness, thus taking into consideration that the tourism industry is extremely important for any country, it is therefore necessary to pay attention to the quality of the tourist destinations and increasing their attractiveness (Buhalis,2000).
More so, Zhou(2005) points out that, in order for countries to become competitive in the global tourism market, the tourist destination has to be innovative and to continually search for new competitive advantages, those kind of advantages that ensures a stable and long term sustainability development of the destination, because winners in the field of tourism will be those countries that have attractive tourist destinations that will attract a lot of visitors.
Destination contains a number of key elements that attract visitors and meet their needs upon arrival.
These elements are defined and categorized by many factors (Ritchie &Crouch, 2003) and are classified in primary (activities, physical settings, social and cultural attributes), and secondary (catering and shopping) elements.
Additional elements include accessibility and touristic information. According to Mill and Morrison (1992), a destination is composed of many parts which includes attractions, facilities, infrastructure, transportation and hospitality.
Buhalis (2000) suggests six important components of a destination, which include attractions, amenities, accessibility, available packages, activities and ancillary services.
However, Holloway et al (2009) suggest that there are only three core elements in a successful destination which achievement in attracting tourists will rely upon the quality of those crucial advantages that they offer, which are attractions, amenities and accessibility.
To Moutinho (2005), these elements are cost, attractions, amenities, travel opportunities, travel arrangements and travel information. It should however be noted that, all of these elements and attributes have the same purpose, but in slightly different manner, which the end point is to make a destination suitable and available for tourists (Ariana, 2017).
The attractiveness as a factor that pulls tourists to a certain destination or location, could be presented as a mix of many elements (Stuber,2002).
According to Formica and Uysal (2006), the attractiveness of a destination, or the attractive factors in a destination is the determining force that affects the choice of the tourist, and if the tourist hesitates between several destinations, the conditions of stay, the price and the accessibility are relatively same, the attraction factors can be what will influence the tourist in making a final decision and the choice of certain destination.
The attraction factors are the motivating force and they are the leading reason for the tourist to decide to go on a travel or trip (Hansen, 2005). The factors of attractiveness in a destination can be natural, objects or constructions built by human hand.
In this sense, it is necessary to emphasize on the complexity of the structure of factors that make the image of one tourist destination, and that is a guarantee for the satisfaction of the guest, due to the integrated realization of the destination quality (Cooper & Boniface, 2009)
More so, a tourist in a chosen destination expects to have everything and everything should be functional. The main strength of any tourist destination is achieved through the quality which will attract the guests and will meet their expectations.
Globally, tourist expectations when visiting a particular destination are related to several features of a chosen destination, which may be linked to culture, architecture, gastronomy, infrastructure, landscape, events and shopping.
These features attract people to the destination and contributes to the overall experience of the trip.
As a whole, they are crucial aspect of the destination and have a profound influence on their successes.
Travel becomes more affordable and accessible with each year that passes. In 2018, an estimated 1.4 billion tourists traveled to some parts of the world, an increase of 50% in just ten years. But these tourists were not evenly distributed, more than half visited Europe while only a tenth visited both Africa and the Middle East combined.
It is therefore a call for concern as to why travelers flock to certain regions but avoid others and it was proven that there are certain specific qualities that determine the attractiveness of a tourist destination. Some of the qualities were: Attractions, Food, Infrastructure, Landscape and Branding.
According to Ngwira&Kankhumi (2018), the role of attractiveness in tourism cannot be over-emphasized since it’s a common knowledge that it is the attractions that draw travelers to an area without which, arguably, there would be no tourism.
It is however a general belief that attractions complete the tourism experience, as they are part of the four A’s in tourism, which are Accommodation, Accessibility, Attractions and Amenities.
Every destination develops and sells their attractions to tourists as a way of emphasizing the destination’s appeal.
However, an analysis conducted on five destinations (Hong Kong, India, Netherlands, Singapore and South Africa), showed that tourists visit these destinations not because of mere attractions but for other reasons related to business, leisure and how these destinations incorporate the right messages in the marketing campaigns (Ngwira&Kankhumi, 2018).
From a regional perspective, Africa is unusual tourist destination and its attractions are different from that of the rest of the world (Beek & Rutten, 2008).
About 4.8% of tourists visit Africa each year and the industry is considered as the fastest developing enterprise in Africa, and currently one of the continent’s major investment opportunities.
As ever, numbers of people have reached the ability, means, and freedom to travel, not only has tourism become increasingly democratized but also both the scale and scope of tourism have developed inevitably.
The geographical, historical, and cultural diversity of Africa makes it a region with vast prospective for economic development using tourism as a tool for diversification further than the main traditional economic events.
The colonial era laid the grounds for nature- based tourism in forms of several safaris in east and southern Africa. Nevertheless, cultural tourism is a very important element of current tourism in Africa in spite of the comparatively small-sized companies compared with other regions, as well as the size of the continent (Dallen& Gyan, 2009).
Tourism is an important economic sector for many countries in Africa and countries like Uganda, Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana, and Tanzania, benefit from the most of tourism.
The touristic particularity of Africa lies in a wide variety of points of interests, diversity and multitudes of landscapes, as well as the rich cultural heritage of the region (Roggerson, 2007).
The successful countries in tourism, are thriving due to a variety of factors and countries like Morocco and Tunisia benefit from their beautiful beaches and their relative proximity to Europe.
Tourism in Egypt is based on the rich history of Ancient Egypt, pyramids, artefacts and breathe taking Red- sea beaches. South Africa and Kenya benefit from wild safari expeditions, attracting tourists to see the wild life of Africa (Rogerson, 2007).
Africa has a major opportunity to harness the potential of tourism to foster development and increase its participation in the global economy (UNWTO, 2015).
Tourism products are a key pillar in the development of any tourism destination.
The range and quality of the tourism product offering defines the competitiveness and attractiveness of tourism destinations and the visitor’s experiences.
As tourism in Africa evolves to become an increasingly important socio-economic sector, it is essential for countries in the region to adopt effective strategies for tourism product development, and strategies that promote a more competitive Africa (Taleb Rifai,2015).
Africa is considered as one of the best travel destinations in the world. Visitors enjoy crystal blue beaches, majestic wildlife and a wealth if culture and history, and this has served as a major destinations’ attractiveness.
Tourism is the main pull factor which influences a visitor’s initial decision to travel to destinations in different parts of the world and to Africa in particular.
Thus, in most regions of the world, particularly in Africa, tourism destination attraction has become important in the development of the tourism sector.
The continent has been touched by cultures from around the world, and South Africa especially, is one of the few places where tourists have a truly wholesome experience (African Mecca Safaris).
Most African destinations excel as modern destinations, while sustaining the wilderness experience of Africa’s pristine outback.
African destinations offer striking landscapes and wildlife that engages the minds of enthusiasts around the world. With an infrastructure that rivals even the most cultural European locations, one can enjoy the benefits of the continent’s logistics, accommodation, security and service levels.
In South Africa for example, food is less about consumption and more about savoring delectable morels that awaken the visitor’s evert sense. The gorgeous beaches of Camps Bay, Durban to Clifton and Sodwana, have all offered the beauty of Africa.
Tourism in Cameroon has been shaped among other things by its history, land, economic and socio-cultural traditions.
Cameroon is one of the developing countries in the world blessed with natural scenes and tourists’ attractions, but due to deficiency in resources, the country is not able to completely benefit from these natural gifts (Fofang,2014).
Cameroon is a land of tourist attractions, for lovers of adventure and culture including mountain, lakes and seaside resorts.
Like the majority of the Africa countries, Cameroon stands out with an unaffected identity uttering diversity and stability, modernity and traditions, dynamism and calm. She has all the beauties of Africa, which explains why people could hardly visit Africa without visiting Cameroon.
The country is full of sentimental and contrasting views, which provide tourists with a unique sight and has been the pull factors of the country’s attractiveness. This ancestral land counts on the relationship between sea and desert, waterfalls and Sahara area, temperate climate in the South and great heat in the North (Lonely Planet 2009).
According to the High Commission for the Republic of Cameroon in Canada (HCRCC,2020) Cameroon is a choice destination with a lot of attractions for any visitor.
The country has a lot of natural attractions and many other phenomena that are not found elsewhere in the world, making it possible to have various categories of tourism.
Situated at the heart of Africa, indeed straddling West Africa and Central Africa, and stretching from the elbow of the gulf of Guinea on the coast of the Atlantic ocean, going through evergreen forests which gradually fade into grass land Savannah until it reaches the sandy regions of Lake Chad, Cameroon has features which are found in all parts of Africa and has served as a major reason for the destination’s attractiveness for tourists.
Cameroon has what it takes to attract lovers of the sea and the beach. The country is blessed with a conductive terrain and natural black and white sandy beaches, a variety of small islets, mangrove vegetation and waterfalls that plunge directly into the ocean. Limbe and Kribi are the two main poles of tourist attraction.
Cameroon is described as ‘all of Africa in one country’, Cameroon has a truly diverse environment, stretching from the Sahel in north to the rainforests of the southeast, the luxurious green mountains of the west and white sandy beaches of the south Seaside tourism in Cameroon is available in “plages de Souelaba, Reserve de Douala/ Edea,Ocean Division”(Kribi), and Limbe. (The ministry of Tourism and Leisure’s Cameroon 2014).
Cameroon is a very beautiful country and tourism can be very important. Made up of mountains, rivers, lakes, green valleys, waterfalls and parks which are all-natural resources, tourist attraction, if well develop will be beneficial not only to the tourism industry but to Cameroon as a whole.
It needs a lot of money for development to take place but the natural beauty of Cameroon can be a capital for tourism (Bhatia .2007), and Kribi being one of the country’s main tourist destination, blessed with enormous tourist potentials, has therefore made tourism an important economic activity in the region and given the importance of tourism not just to specific destinations, but to the world as a whole and the strong competitiveness of the industry in the global market
this study however seeks to analyse those factors that makes Kribi an attractive destination for tourists and how this locality can become more attractive to tourists, which will intend benefit not just the locality, but the entire country as a whole.
The competition of attracting tourists is getting keener and the main reason behind the travels of tourists is to experience a change of climate, to experience uniqueness, authenticity, sustainability, as well as wellness of the destination.
It has however been observed that Europeans, American Asians and Arab nationals’ population, actually consume sustainably their tourism product in contrast to the African national population, the reason being that there is more awareness and knowledge amongst foreigners.
More so, the study of destination attractiveness is limited (Formica, 2002), in that attempts to measure or asses the attractiveness of tourism destinations are ad hoc and therefore of little use to most stakeholders at these destinations.
The existing destination studies identify just the most popular destination attributes that is attractions and activities within a destination that are popular among tourists.
Little attempt has however been made to highlight, group and rank these attributes in a way that could help destinations allocate resources and prioritize the development of destination facilities this study will however attempt to group these destination attributes that destination managers could use to prioritize the allocation of resources for the benefit of both tourists and destination operators.
Due to the increased competition, it however raises a serious question as to what can effectively attract tourists to visit a certain destination, and this is crucial especially for countries or regions who are struggling to boost their tourism sector, which entails efficient management of the destination.
The efficient management of a tourist destination means a need, a challenge and an opportunity for public and private bodies. An attractive tourist destination can bring benefits for both residents and visitors (Mora et al, 2011).
As Tang &Rochananond (1990) point out, it is impossible to achieve this objective without a plan of a clear focus on improvement.
Thus, faced with a reality of growing competition between regions, this work attempts to identify attributes that boost the attractiveness of a tourist destination (ATD) for a country like Cameroon as a whole, and the town of Kribi in particular and possible ways Kribi can become more attractive to tourists.
For the purpose of this study, the researcher was guided by the following research questions
- Is Kribi a tourist destination?
- What makes Kribi a tourist destination?
- Does the locality of Kribi face any challenge as a tourist destination?
- Are there any possible solutions to these challenges?
- Are there possible measures in which Kribi can become more attractive to tourists?
The main purpose of this study is to analyse the factors accounting for the touristic attractiveness of Kribi.
Specifically, this study seeks to;
- Examine the touristic potentials of Kribi
- Investigate reasons why Kribi is considered a tourist destination
- Assess the problems faced by Kribi as a tourist destination
- Propose possible solutions to the above challenges and possible measures in which Kribi can be more attractive to tourists.
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